Texas Clergy Sign on to Supreme Court Brief Supporting Equality in Key LGBT Discrimination Case

Clergy who are part of Texas Believes, a project of the Texas Freedom Network and Equality Texas, are among nearly 1,300 faith leaders from across the country who have signed on to a brief calling on the U.S. Supreme Court not to turn religious freedom into a license to discriminate. Read the press release.


Colorado Case Could Turn Religious Freedom into a License to Discriminate

October 31, 2017

AUSTIN – More than 60 Texas clergy are among nearly 1,300 faith leaders from across the country who have signed on to a brief calling on the U.S. Supreme Court not to turn religious freedom into a license to discriminate. The signers are from about 50 faith traditions nationally.

The clergy brief is among dozens from faith leaders, businesses, scholars and others supporting equality that were filed with the Supreme Court on Monday in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case. The justices will hear oral arguments in the case Dec. 5.

The Masterpiece case involves a Colorado bakery that refused to sell a cake to a same-sex couple celebrating their civil marriage. That action was in direct violation of Colorado’s nondiscrimination law, and both the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and the state appellate court ruled in favor of the couple.

At the heart of the case is the question of whether nondiscrimination laws can continue to be enforced without sweeping and dangerous exemptions. A court ruling that the bakery has a special right of religious refusal to obey Colorado’s nondiscrimination law could put at risk protections for everyone, not just LGBT Americans.

The brief is available here.

Signers to the brief include clergy associated with Texas Believes, which supports full equality for LGBTQ Texans.

Rev. Laura Walters, senior pastor at Presbyterian Church of Lake Travis in Bee Cave
“Allowing businesses to use religion to pick and choose whom they will serve violates core American values of fairness and equality. Protecting people from that kind of discrimination threatens no one’s religious freedom. Indeed, treating others as we would like to be treated and loving as we have been loved affirms a central teaching of many religions, including my Christian faith.”

Rabbi Mara Nathan, senior rabbi at Temple Beth-El in San Antonio
“As Americans we consider our religious freedom to be a fundamental right. However, this right does not include imposing our own beliefs onto others. If our laws and court decisions redefine freedom in a way that permits people to hurt or discriminate against us because of who we are or whom we love, then we will have most certainly corrupted one of our most cherished rights.”

Rev. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas, senior pastor at Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ in Dallas

“As people of faith, we have a responsibility to live by the values of Jesus and to affirm equality and justice for all. We must recognize our commitment to support and celebrate the powerful spiritual gifts of everyone, including LGBT people. Religious freedom means the freedom to practice our faith, not to hurt others or impose our beliefs on them.”

The Texas Freedom Network was the state partner with Freedom for All Americans in helping gather signatures for the brief from faith leaders.

Texas Believes (TexasBelieves.org), a coalition of faith leaders who support full equality for all Texans, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Texans, is a joint project of the Texas Freedom Network and Equality Texas.